Re-taking the Pre-Reqs

Dear All;

This is such an awesome resource. I’m excited to get involved with this forum and, at 11pm on New Years Eve, I’d like to ask a burning question.

I’m 28 and will be starting a do-it-yourself post-bac at University of North Carolina-Charlotte (UNCC) this January. From everything I’ve been reading so far, I’m not sure exactly what I should be doing.


-B.A. Religious Studies (Washington University in St. Louis), 2005

-Transfered to Wash U sophomore year

-Pre-Meds taken at community college: Gen. Chem and Biology (all A grades)

-Pre-Meds at Wash U: Orgo II ©, Orgo II lab (A), Physics I (A-). Also took Genetics ©

-Gave up on medical school when parents went bankrupt and I had to get a job

So, since most of my pre-meds were taken 7+ years ago at the community college level, and those at Wash U included a couple C’s, and that I haven’t taken Physics II, I was thinking about retaking the entire sequence at UNCC. I don’t remember much of this material and wouldn’t think I could draw on it for MCAT preparation. However, I also want to take a couple upper-level courses such as Biochem, Cell Bio, Genetics (retake), and Molecular Bio. I’d also like to take Statistics and maybe A&P if that’s helpful.

According to Chapel Hill SOM, this is fine with them. But how do medical schools in general view people retaking these pre-reqs years later? If I do well, will they say “Of course he got As at UNCC, they were just reviews since he took them in undergrad.” Is it important that I also include those additional classes (upper-level Bio, Stats, and Biochem) or should I just try and go straight into them and skip the lower-level stuff altogether? Or, should I just focus on the traditional pre-med sequence and forget about the upper-level stuff?

Thanks for any feedback!

Hey Richard. Welcome to OPM. I’m starting classes at UNCC for a DIY post-bac in the spring as well. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Hanie (the pre-med advisor) if you haven’t already, she’s a very valuable resource.

My pre-reqs are anywhere from 6-9 years old. I’ve looked into my list of schools(>40 long currently) and only two specifically mention a time frame on pre-reqs, Duke says 7 years and Jefferson Medical College 5 years. I inquired about this with the Dean of Admissions of ECU when he came to speak and he said they don’t have any specific limitations but did say that those who have been out of school more than a couple years need to take upper level classes to show they’re still capable of performing in the classroom.

From what I gather AAMCAS averages grades for retakes and AACOMAS replaces grades. So retaking classes should only help you as long as you do well. It really depends on whether you feel like you’ll be able to adequately prepare for the MCAT or upper level courses without retaking. You’ll find that there’s stuff the courses cover that isn’t on the MCAT so you may be better off taking one of the MCAT review classes to perpare for it and focusing on knocking out some upper level stuff.

Personally I’m retaking Physics I and II since they are my oldest pre-reqs, in case I start running into time limitation problems anywhere, and taking some upper level chemistry and biology courses.

Keep in touch and maybe we’ll see each other around campus.

I’m glad I ran into this post because i’m in a very similar situation. I’ve been debating over whether or not to retake all my pre-reqs because of how many years it has been since…Besides, I didnt really do as well as I wanted to in undergrad.

But thats also a good idea about taking a few upper div courses as well. I’m gonna look into that. Thanks!

I’m a UNCC grad (Chemistry Dept. for undergrad) and I think it’s a great idea 2 of you are taking your premed classes there. I’ve never felt a stronger sense of camaraderie among students and support from faculty as I did when I was a student there.

Wow I’m glad I found some other UNCC folks on here.

OwenO, are you going to take Physics 1101/1102 (algebra-based) or the upper level calc-based for “Science & Engineering”? I’ve got a year of calculus from undergrad, but I don’t remember enough to be confident about taking the calc-based physics. According to the UNCC Pre-Health website, it seems like either sequence is fine so I was just going to take algebra-based and beef up on other classes (since I’ve already done physics anyway).

I really don’t know if I feel confident enough about any Chem, Bio, or Physics for MCAT or upper-level purposes. I’ve read elsewhere that Bio has changed quite a bit over the last few years and this will be reflected on the MCAT, so I figured it would be beneficial to take it again…

PathDr2b: Any Chem professors you remember being very helpful? I plan on taking Gen Chem, Orgo, and Biochem I think, so you remember any of the good folks in the department? Also, by older brother is finishing his Pathology residency right now, hoping to get a fellowship in derm-path. He loves his specialty so I hope you fulfill your dream too!

I’m taking 1101/1102. I took calculus based back with my bachelors and have no desire to do it again.

I’m taking Physics I, Biochem I, Inorganic chem and Cell bio this semester. I want to take more biology but all the upper levels require at least Cell bio as a prereq.

The MCAT seems to try and have more medically relevant bio material on these days. Stuff like genetics and such, but only at the introductory level, nothing you can’t learn from a MCAT review book or course.

For what it’s worth, I 'd suggest retaking Physics I, since you have to take Physics II.

I don’t think med schools discount you having any good grades because “it’s just a retake”…I had a lot of retakes. But of course the time interval was much longer for me, so that might be worth talking to a premed advisor about.

I also think that at 7+ years, it would be worthwhile taking Basic bio I and II with lab. Some new stuff out there (make that a definate if it has been near 10 years). Also, at least at my premed program, there was no biology on the MCAT that the basic bio course didn’t prepare me for. The first semester included quite a bit of cell biology and the second semester included quite a bit of genetics, including population genetics.

As far as other bio courses - biochem and genetics are good choices to help with the course material in med school. Not really necessary for MCAT prep.

You mention taking Org. Chem II but not Org Chem I, which confused me. I’d base my decision on whether to repeat by working thru some review materials and MCAT prep questions (local library will probably have some prep books plus on-line resources), to judge whether you feel a need for the full formal course to get back up to speed in that area. If so, go for it - you can certainly tell admissions committees that you wanted the material to be fresh in your mind to be well prepared for medical school coursework.

Those are my suggestions.

Hi! I am also starting my own DIY post-bacc at UNCC this summer. I spoke with UNCC’s pre-med advisor and I agree she is a great source of information.

I was also accepted to Penn’s post bacc program but the advising was ‘lacking’ to say the least…not to mention the cost!

Hopefully, I will run into you guys at UNCC! Good luck!